I approached the super fort I’d labored off and on for almost a month, most recently 24 hours ago. It kept rising and rising, spreading and spreading, like the construction of a new battleship in dry dock.
It was a few minutes past dawn. While Astoria slumbers, I build forts. I brought along a breakfast of black coffee, hard boiled eggs and chunks of watermelon.
Visibility on the beach in the smoke and fog measured a football field, at most. Gulls ripped apart crab (some of it still writhing) at the wrack line. It’s a crab festival every morning for the gulls and they are fattening up. They gorge and gorge and then seem to fall asleep on their feet. I’ve even seen one fall over!
I kept building this battleship of meditation with my own hands, in silence, alone, in the early mornings, trying to empty my mind but typically failing. I had placed cairns around the fort, decorated it with feathers, shells, bookmarks, buttons, pennies, paper clips, buoys and rope. I had taken my cousin from LA to the fort and unnerved (in a good way) his quasi Christian soul with its Zen metaphors. I was going to keep building this super fort until it transcended mere super fort status (if any fort can be “mere”) and entered the pantheon of truly mind blowing driftwood forts on the Oregon Coast.
This fort had no name—yet.
There were four other forts in the pantheon that I knew of for sure. Two I had helped build. One I had discovered. One had harbored a vision from a Henry Miller novel. Undoubtedly others existed, but I had never seen them and never would.
My super fort came into hazy view. I came in closer. I passed two gulls who barely moved. Their eyes were shut. Then I stopped. I might have even taken a step backward.
It wasn’t my fort. It had been utterly remade.
(If you found this post enjoyable, thought provoking or enlightening, please consider supporting a writer at work by making a financial contribution to this blog or by purchasing an NSP book.)